Photo by Aperture Ashley
So, full disclosure, I have been a huge fan of Mia's for a long time. She's an incredible geek lifestyle blogger, and she was someone I ran into all the time when I was running my geek blog E-Rad's Cantina. Her cosplays are absolutely lovely (especially her heart-eating Dany *swoon*), and she has some wonderfully insightful things to say! Check out her interview:
First things first, of the cosplays you have done, which is your favorite and why?
This is a tough one to start off! I think if I had to choose just one, it'd be my heart-eating Daenerys. I learned so many new skills while making that costume and I found out I LOVE SFX makeup! The blood was so much fun!
If time and cost weren't a factor, what is your dream cosplay?
One of my all-time dream cosplays is Rapunzel from Tangled. It'd take me so much time to get it right, but I really want to make that giant braided wig and the detailed embroidery on her skirt, plus learn more about corset/bodice making.
Are you more comfortable with sewing or armor making?
I feel like such a novice at both, if I'm being honest! For some reason, armor/prop making feels more lenient -- like mistakes can be fixed -- and I stress less about that portion of a costume.
Photo by Aperture Ashley
I've seen you pop up on Pinterest quite a bit with your super helpful tips on wearing wigs, undergarments and other "cosplay 101" resources. What inspired you to make that series? What were some hiccups you experienced from when you first started cosplaying?
I started that series because I was getting a lot of questions about what cosplay is and how to get started. I realized a lot of people asking had no idea you could BUY (or modify) parts of your costume, for example! I've gotten a lot of feedback that my posts have helped others feel they have permission to cosplay, which is such an honor for me. Despite having so much more to learn, I'm happy to help others at least get to the beginning levels of cosplay.
As for hiccups -- there are so many with every costume! One of my favorites was the first time I decided to make a prop, my Ramona hammer, and asking a prop friend what material was best. He said "foam," and so I went to the craft store and bought styrofoam, not realizing that there were different types and he clearly meant EVA foam. The styrofoam was a pain to work with, absorbed paint like nobody's business, and didn't have the look I wanted in the end -- but I was still so proud of it! Since then, I've remade that hammer a few times and I'm much happier with the result, plus you can see the growth in skills.
Why do you cosplay? What about it brings you joy? :)
There's something really special about embodying a character you love. When I'm cosplaying, I feel like I attract more of the qualities of that character -- so maybe I'm more badass than usual, or confident, or enthusiastic. Cosplay has been a big part of developing my own self-esteem and self-image, realizing that I can accomplish things if I put my mind to it. It's also been such a wonderful way to meet like-minded people! I love geeking out about my favorite things and always leave a convention with new acquaintances.
What is a favorite memory from doing cosplay? Maybe a convention experience, a challenge you overcame, meeting a hero, etc?
This is wild to me still, but I was reached out to be part of a film called Geek Girls. Filming started with an interview in my crafting space in Austin, a photoshoot in Austin with my fave photographer, then eventually I was flown out to Fan Expo Canada (!!!) to get more footage in a convention setting. The whole experience was so surreal and I feel so lucky that cosplay brought me such cool memories. (I still haven't seen the film yet, but it's showing at different film festivals all around the world!)
Who are some of your favorite cosplayers and why (and where can we find them?)
I have so many cosplay friends and senpais (and friend-pais?) so I don't want to leave anyone out! But here's a short list:
- Cosmic Coterie -- a cosplay group with FANTASTIC, screen accurate Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica costumes.
- Commander Holly -- the amount of detail she puts into all her costumes is simply astounding.
- SparklePipsi -- the premiere idol and magical girl cosplayer who taught me the importance of horsehair braid.
- Kamui Cosplay -- the OG armor beast! Her armor builds are always so impressive.
- Yaya Han -- a fantastic seamstress and crafter who is always taking it to the next level.
What has been your favorite convention, and what convention would you still love to attend that you haven't yet?
I've only been once, but Dragon*Con was easily my favorite convention experience of all-time. I really need to go back! I'd also love to attend a convention like ColossolCon that's at a waterpark resort... think of the photoshoot possibilities!
Photo by ACCosplay
Do you have any other thoughts or words of advice for people wanting to jump into cosplay, but just might be a little intimidated or nervous to take that leap?
I always hear from folks that feel like they can't cosplay because it's not for them -- they feel they're too old, too young, not the right skin color, not the right body type, not the right skill level. The truth of it is, none of that matters. You're allowed to cosplay if you want to cosplay, and nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do. I won't pretend there aren't people out there who will give you negative feedback based on those things, but they don't matter. How you feel when you cosplay is what matters.
On a personal level, I've gotten negative feedback for some of my costumes. I always envisioned that I'd be mortified if I got any body shaming comments from strangers, but it turned out that I didn't really care when it happened. The comments have never been about the quality of my costume, but what I look like. I could care less if I am a perfect replica of a fictional character -- if my costume looks good and I'm proud of it, it's a lot easier to brush those comments off.
Also, on a more practical level, you don't need to know how to sew or make props or any of that stuff before you get started. Just take it one step at a time. Figure out what you feel comfortable trying out -- can you modify a storebought cape to be the right shape? Do you want to commission a seamstress to make you a spandex bodysuit? Maybe you want to experiment with making props from scratch? There's no one right way to cosplay, so any of those options are valid! If you want to cosplay, you absolutely should.
Where can we follow you online, and are there any other projects or platforms you'd like to promote in this interview?
I'm basically everywhere as @xoMiaMoore (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and I blog about cosplay and geek lifestyle at www.xomia.com. I also co-host a weekly podcast with my best friend called Fake Goth Girls, where we talk about creative living, pop culture, and mental health.
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